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Panthers free up $3.2 million in cap space

Very quietly, the Carolina Panthers have restructured running back DeAngelo Williams' contract to free up $3.2 million in salary-cap space for this season.

The Panthers technically gave Williams a two-year extension (through 2017). But that really is only for accounting purposes because the final two years of the deal void if Williams is on the roster on the fourth day of the 2016 league year.

The Panthers dropped Williams' 2013 cap figure from $8.2 million to $5 million by cutting his base salary from $4.75 million to $850,000. But Williams was given a $4 million signing bonus for restructuring.

The Panthers also lowered Williams' future salary-cap hits. They dropped his 2014 cap figure from $9.2 million to $6 million by cutting his base salary from $5.75 million to $1.85 million. Williams' 2015 cap figure has dropped from $10.2 million to $6.33 million. His scheduled $6.75 million base salary for 2015 has dropped to $1.85 million. Williams also is scheduled to receive a $1 million option bonus in 2015 and can earn up to $750,000 in escalators that year.

Although there had been lots of speculation that Williams could be available in a trade, the restructuring makes it likely he'll stay with the Panthers.

The restructuring leaves the Panthers $8.4 million under this year's salary cap.